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eClaire

Faithbook eClaire

"Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting; The soul that rises with us, our life's star, Hath had elsewhere its setting, And cometh from afar." --William Wordsworth

How Do You Imagine God?
God in America and USA WEEKEND Magazine are partnering to explore Americans' images of God.

How do you imagine God? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator To me, "God" is that ineffable, unlimited, indefinable, unknowable, eternal, uncreated (but ever-creating), unchangeable (yet ever-changing) Spirit, Essence, Mind, Consciousness, Source, Energy of which all is born and without which nothing could be. Our Creator is not "up there somewhere" but is within and without us; within and without all that is. There is no escaping God! (However, a person can certainly pretend to do so if he is of such a mind.) Above all, GOD IS LOVE!!! 1 person liked this

My Beliefs

I believe ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator That God created all so that He* could enjoy and experience all the ideas contained in His* infinite mind. I believe that we shall all one day(somewhere/somewhen) come to love Him* as He* loves us. *I use the traditional pronoun for reasons of ease, continuity and clarity; not that I believe that God is either male or female, but encompasses all such divisions.
My most powerful moment of belief was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator when my mind was suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, impregnated with the following, most imperative, words (even though, to the best of my recall, I was not even thinking about God at the time): "GOD IS A SYNCHRONISTIC WHOLE." It took me a bit of pondering to decipher these words, but the meaning, when it hit me, was a most exciting and revealing truth! I will not divulge my interpretation because I believe it is the only one possible and I challenge others to contemplate these divinely (I believe) inspired words.
My greatest moment of doubt was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator not actually a moment, but some years in my early adulthood, when I doubted the "Jesus stories". I can truthfully say that I never doubted our Creator because, to my way of seeing things, His wondrous creation bears witness of the Divine Mind behind all that is. I spent years studying other religions as well as many Christian denominations and my studies helped me to see the truth about Jesus and His teachings.
My spiritual life means... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator that no matter how bad things may appear, there is always hope; without this faith I am sure that I could never have made it this far!
The biggest misconception about my faith/belief system is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator the same as that of other religions. Everyone seems to assume that his is "the only way to God". This is a prime example of human arrogance, as well as being untrue and quite illogical. I realize the following is fairly trite by now, but there are indeed many paths which, in the beginning, appear to be quite different. Ultimately, however, they all converge, on one central point - which is God. The world's great religions, when stripped of all their outer accoutrements, ceremonies, doctrines and dogmas, basically come down to the teachings of Jesus the Christ, which are to love God, one's neighbor and to deny oneself, i.e., the human ego.
My spiritual role model is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Jesus! I believe He gave us the highest truth and that He lived and died as a perfect example of this truth. I believe that God has sent us many holy men and prophets but that none of these made it "all the way" to becoming the Christ of God, as did the man Jesus, which is why, in the Bible, He is called "the firstfruits". But the others were also sent to bring God's Word to man when man so badly needed this.
The tenet/practice/teaching I appreciate most about my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator the words of Jesus in John 10:34: "Is it not written in your law, 'I said "You are gods"'? (The original quote can be found in Psalms 82:6.) Christ also told us that we would do the things that He did and even greater things than those would we do. This means that we all have the POTENTIAL to attain Christhood, although very few would have the strength, the will and the perseverance to live their lives in such a manner as He did.

My Faith History

As a child I believed ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator in such songs as "Jesus Loves Me", "Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world; red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in His sight; Jesus loves the little children of the world." And I always said the prayer "Now I lay me down to sleep". I knew that Jesus would always protect me.
My spiritual journey has been ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Long and tortuous, but well worth it! Christ told us to "seek and we would find, ask and it would be given us, knock and it would be opened unto us" (paraphrased). I have found this to be very true!
I was raised as ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator a Baptist but also attended the Roman Catholic Church.
Are your beliefs or practices different from your parents? If so, how and why? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I don't know about my father's religious affiliation, other than that it would have been Protestant. My mother grew up in the Baptist Church; however, in her adult life, she rarely attended services. As a young child my beliefs were Baptist, until I discovered Catholicism, but I later went back to the Baptists for a while. Shortly afterwards, I found myself experiencing many doubts as to all dogmas and doctrines, and began exploring other faiths. I now call myself a "Follower of Christ" and do not belong to any one religious group. 1 person liked this

How I Practice My Faith

Where and when do you practice your faith? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator At all places and times; one can always pray no matter what the outer circumstances may be. I try to remember to show God's love in all my words and actions towards others. And when I realize that I have fallen short in this respect, I do my best to repair the damages. Thoughts are, of course, a more difficult thing to control and I find myself frequently praying for forgiveness for some of my uglier ones!
Does your family practice more than one religion or faith? If so, how do you blend the traditions? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I am single, but have four siblings - one of whom is a United Methodist minister and another who has served in the ministry of his church. Although I disagree quite a lot with some of their interpretations of the Christian scriptures, we all get along quite well and when the five of us get together, someone will always lead us in prayer. I have never been comfortable with praying out loud before a group, so I do not take that part.
How easy or difficult is it to live your faith? Why? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator My greatest stumbling-block would probably be my anger at those in elected office, the clergy and the media who are deceiving the people in so many ways. I do pray for these people and do not wish them any harm, but it is nigh impossible for me to feel any Christian love for them when they, by their very words and actions, give the lie to any brotherly love they may profess. I also pray that God will help me with my anger, even though I believe that the recipients are most worthy of such. Another very difficult thing for me is to forgive myself - even for words or actions that are far in the past. I am constantly striving with this.
In my house, the thing that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator "Daily Word", my little devotional magazine, along with my Bible, both of which are kept on the left-hand end table next to my sofa. If it is icons that are meant, I do have a beautiful metal crucifix on a string around my upper right bedpost. And a few angels here and there!
The song/book/film that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator "Amazing Grace" for the song; not sure about the film; and it's difficult to say about the book since I have read so many, but one that is high on my list is "The Third Jesus" by Deepak Chopra who, as many PBS viewers will know, was raised in the Hindu tradition. Another most excellent book which I have just read is "An Order Outside Time" - A Jungian View Of The Higher Self From Egypt To Christ, by Robert B. Clarke. This is not an 'easy' book unless one is familiar with Egyptian mythology; in fact I nearly gave it up a few times, but did persevere to the end and am so very glad that I did! I do believe it is one of the most important books I have ever read!

Religion & the Public Square

What should be the role of religion in politics? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I am a strict separatist in this respect, primarily for the reason that true religious faith is always the loser and the fanatical demagogues are the ones who gain the power. Such is highly detrimental to our whole American way of life and to our God-given freedom.
Should courses about religion be taught in public schools? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator There are, of course, extremists on both sides of this question. I fall somewhere in the middle. I do not see anything wrong with ELECTIVE courses in religion being taught if there is sufficient interest from students, although these would probably best be taught in an 'extra-curricular' format - like, perhaps, an 'after-school' club. I most certainly believe that books on all religions should be available in school libraries, age-appropriateness being considered. Public school-promoted prayer is a definite "no-no" in my book! That's what churches are for!
Should the Bible, Torah, Quran or other religious texts be taught as works of literature in public schools? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator In a standard Literature course, I think not because there would be far too many problems with parents if such were required. But, as I stated above, these could be elective courses. And, yes, I do think that such scriptures should be in the public school libraries as these are very important books that can have a great impact on children (of appropriate age) by teaching them understanding and tolerance of other religions.
Is interfaith dialogue important? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator ABSOLUTELY!!! Just look at what has happened to our country since that fateful September 11th! Far too many Americans are blaming a whole religion for this act rather than just a few fanatical extremists! We have got to get ourselves to where we are actually capable of some rational thought! And the only way to do that is dialogue - the more the better! The more all religions come together in dialogue, the better off the world will be as a whole; because we will then begin to find some common ground and quit looking at one another as Satan incarnate!
Do you feel comfortable discussing your faith with others? Why/why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator That depends on who those others may be. I enjoy discussing the subject of religion with reasonable, open-minded people, but have no desire to fight about such things. I have occasionally got into some shouting matches and always regretted it afterwards, because I am a peace-maker and a peace-keeper and I always feel ashamed and un-Christlike when I behave in a contrary manner.
Do you feel that you have a duty, because of your faith, to put your beliefs into action? What are some of those actions? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Yes! I try to act kindly and to be helpful to others in any way that I can, in other words to put God's love into action. However, I do not attempt to convert people of other religions to Christianity and I do not believe that such was what Christ intended at all. If a person is happy with his own faith and tries his best to live by its tenets (and if such are not harmful to anyone), why would I want to change that?
Are religious beliefs compromised by engaging in politics? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator They can be, of course! But that depends on the individual and how spiritually developed he is. On that thought, I not long ago read a book by the former Republican Senator John Danforth, who is also an ordained Episcopal priest. In this, he relates some of his difficulties, moral dilemmas and how he changed his thinking on certain things when he came to believe he was wrong. The title is "Faith and Politics" - How The "Moral Values" Debate Divides America And How To Move Forward Together. A most thoughtful and fascinating book!
Has 9/11 had any impact on your thoughts about religion? Are you more/less interested in learning about other religions? Do you feel more/less comfortable expressing your religious beliefs? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator The only impact is that I have now bought a copy of the Qur'an and have acquired a DVD of "The Message", starring Anthony Quinn, which is a most impressive and moving account of Muhammad's conversion experience and subsequent events. I recommend it highly! With American Muslims (and I know some very good ones!) being made to feel pariahs in their own country, and with all the trashing of Islam on the Internet and in other media, I feel it incumbent upon myself to learn more about this religion in particular so that I can at least try to counteract some of the ugliness that is out there! A Muslim friend and I frequently discuss our respective religions and I believe we both benefit from this.

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Published October 11, 2010

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